Decade of Excellence, A: The Matthew Burke Story

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Released 14-May-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Sports Main Menu Audio
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Featurette-Burkey's Tips
Trailer-Destiny; Joey
DVD Credits
Rating ?
Year Of Production ?
Running Time 73:58 (Case: 95)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Charles Stewart

Sony Music
Starring Matthew Burke
John Eales
George Gregan
Bob Dwyer
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI ? Music Jay Stewart

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (384Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Varies Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Matthew Burke: A Decade of Excellence joins the (relative) plethora of rugby DVDs released during the build up to the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final. It is a rather pedestrian documentary, composed of team-mates and friends singing his praises peppered with a few (far too few) vintage moments of champagne Burke rugby magic.

    2003 (a Rugby World Cup year) was to mark Burke's 10th anniversary a a Wallaby. Sadly for Burke, and his fans, he is no longer in the Australian team. This DVD provides a cursory glance over Burke's stunning rugby career, and some of its ups and downs. In his ten years, Burke has enjoyed many achievements, including gaining the most caps by a Wallaby fullback; the most points in a single international (39, which I think was against Canada in 1996); and he has also become one of Australia's leading point scorers. Burke is an all-round rugby talent, whether it be scoring tries, kicking goals (often under pressure), or providing rock-solid defence.

    As a young school boy, Burke excelled at athletics, and indeed, all sports. Burke was introduced to rugby at one of Australia's great rugby nurseries, Sydney's St. Joseph's College. Soon, Burke was playing in the Australian Schoolboy's team, and touring overseas. At 17, Burke joined the Eastwood rugby club, and went straight into grade rugby. After an appearance in the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens, Burke made his debut as a Wallaby in 1993. As a reserve winger, Burke came on in a match against South Africa. Burke was introduced to the international rugby watching world when South Africa booted a high ball toward him. Burke's first touch of the ball in International rugby was to drop it, knock it forward, and then watch it roll out to touch. Oops!

    In the documentary, Burke comes across as confident, but modest. The documentary features interview snippets with a number of Australian rugby coaches, commentators, and players including Bob Dwyer, John Eales, George Gregan, Chris Handy, Eddie Jones, Phil Kearns, Jason Little, and Mat Rodgers. Interestingly, current Australian coach, Eddie Jones, remarks that Burke will now "have the opportunity to play his best football over the next few years". Sadly, there are no interviews with any overseas rugby players or coaches. Surely a few All Black interviews would have been easy to arrange?

    While the documentary is never probing or that insightful (or even that interesting), it does include some great moments of 1990s Australian rugby, including Tri-Nations, International Tests, the 1999 Rugby World Cup finals, and even some club and school matches.

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Transfer Quality


    The transfer quality is dependent on the source material. The original material made for the documentary, such as the interviews, is crystal clear and problem-free. However, much of the archival video footage is of poor quality.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The sharpness, shadow detail, and colour are all excellent, commensurate with the original footage.

    There are no problem with MPEG, film-to-video or film artefacts with the original footage.

    There are no subtitles present on this single sided, single layered disc.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are two audio options on this DVD: English Dolby Digital 2.0 (384Kb/s), and English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s). The Dolby Digital 2.0 track is the default audio track.

    The dialogue quality and audio sync are excellent on both audio tracks.

    The musical score is credited to Jay Stewart, but it is a collection of minimal, background sounds. Any relation to the Director, I wonder?

    To say that the surround sound mix is quite front-heavy would be a gross under-statement. All the sound collapses into the centre speaker, with the rear speakers providing the odd bit of ambience during some of the rugby footage.

    The subwoofer provides some bass, most noticeably for the music.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    The extras are slim.


    Very simple, but animated menus, presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced with Dolby Digital stereo audio.

Burkey's Tips (6:48)

    I was a little disappointed with the short running time of this extra, which might have made purchasing this disc worthwhile. Burke presents a few drills for goal kicking, drop goals, and passing. Far too brief!


    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital stereo audio, there are two trailers (both part of Sony Music Champions Series): One for Destiny, a documentary about Kostya Tszyu, and one for Joey, a documentary about Andrew Johns. Interestingly, Burke appears to be the only Rugby Union player to appear in Joey, while Johns was the only Rugby League player to appear in A Decade of Excellence. A little cross-marketing perhaps?

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Not surprisingly, while this is an all-zone DVD, A Decade of Excellence is not being distributed in the USA.


   Matthew Burke: A Decade of Excellence does have some great rugby footage, but sadly, most of it is just talking heads.

    The video quality is variable, but still very watchable.

    The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is very limited in its presence.

    The extras are really not worth mentioning.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Sunday, November 23, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayGrundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
SpeakersSony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer

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